On this day 2018.
Celebrating a year of daily cartoons.
Some habits and routines that we keep up with today also live in our bodies and in our hearts as visceral reminders of good, important, and loving interactions and times in our lives. Which of your habits spark positive memories and nostalgic comfort?
Relationships are always changing. I tell this to everyone who encounters my psychotherapy practice website right on the homepage (www.LiveLikeLove.com). What this likely means is that we are always going through different kinds of endings, and likely different levels, shapes, and phases of mourning. We may mourn letting go of an earlier illusion of what the relationship could be, what we wanted and imagined it to be in a stable way over time, or even letting go of the same, relatively uncomplicated way we've been holding on since we first grabbed hold of an ongoing relationship. Yet, at moments when we come to the end of one story of a relationship and allow ourselves to tell a new, perhaps fuller story, there can also be a great potential energy that arises in counterbalance. How do you mourn and honor change in your relationships? What new energy, right now, are you beginning to sense in one of your relationships?
We can come in and out of each other's lives and spaces in so many different ways. Sometimes, we support those around us when we don't even know we are doing so. Sometimes we are supported by the people we know without ever acknowledging the support. In this way, we can weave community by visible and hidden means. What is one hidden way that you are supported by your community? What is one visible way that you are supported by your community?
We all have little pleasures in life that may seem strange to others. Sometimes we call these guilty pleasures. Sometimes we just call them pleasure. What's something that goes against the grain and brings you pleasure?
There are many directions our lives can take us and only one life that we actually live. We may dream over time of being many roles, yet choose only a few. Other parts we may hope to avoid playing and still find ourselves performing functions that we'd rather not. There is no clock perfectly ticking away toward a life that should be, no map that we have to follow, no exactly right way to live; and the ambiguity, heightened by social influences, that we experience when contemplating what we've been, what we are, and what we will be may indeed be a pretty good reason why we yearn for some concrete timekeeper to tell us what to do. Yet, the strength it takes to sit in and to shape our own lives, including choosing how much and when we lean in to the opinions of others, is a strength that can itself be the reward of a life lived with self-compassion and self-curiosity. What is one way that you are self-compassionate or self-curious about who you are?
We can get caught holding onto a feeling longer than we'd like. Sometimes the state of being without this feeling is so foreign to us that even a welcome invitation to put it down is like being invited to swim on a sidewalk. We can't find the pool or the lake to get into, and we just don't know the way out of the feeling that we're in. And sometimes something inexplicable motivates us and we act from a place that is not conscious and maybe not even subconscious, not known or even unknown, but rather nameless, nothing, and alchemical. Suddenly, we find ourselves in the ocean and the feeling is gone, gloriously and mysteriously. Later back on land, we may yearn for that oceanic feeling and find ourselves all over again ignorant of how to get to the water. What helps you remember what it's like in your body when you put down a difficult emotion?
There are lots of different ways that we can become disheartened, distant, and disconnected with parts of our identities. Intergenerational trauma, social injustice, immigration, emigration, and migration, marriage, chosen family, and family obligations, feuds, and betrayals, low expectations, illness, concentrated power, media, cultural mores, and violence are just some of the many, many processes in human life that disrupt and block us from our wholeness. We may necessarily be putting parts of ourselves aside for our own protection, survival, peace of mind, self-love, growth, and liberation, and we may over time find ourselves ready to bring cut-off parts back into our sense of ourselves in new and changed configurations that we couldn't have imagined before. What part of your identity are you welcoming home to yourself this year?
I'll be back next week! xoAnna
Bodies can be really scary and really gross. On top of that, we often learn early on that we have to keep the challenges of our bodies to ourselves, and we can become isolated in experiences that are painful and terrifying. In that way, experiences of agony and fear can be compounded by feelings of humiliation, disconnection, and abandonment. These feelings of body shame come in many different forms, find us over the course of a lifetime, and lurk around nearly every corner of the human experience. Before we know much about why we're even freaked out by ourselves, intense feelings about our bodies can creep over us like a heavy, opaque fog with little sense of how to find a clear path back out of our own discomfited psyches. Talking about bodies openly can start to bend this collective narrative and isolating inner experience back toward care, belonging, and shared good humor about our corporeal existence. We can take small steps in ways that feel manageable and ok for us personally and that help us connect interpersonally about our bodies. What's one thing you want people to know right now about your body?
It doesn't always feel ok to like what we like. Yet our preferences are ours and they are ok. Other times we feel really great about what excites and moves us, and what we like becomes an important part of our identity. What's something you're proud of liking?
I love you already.
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